SI Review: July 2012

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Center Stage

Three-Pronged Approach

Recruiting, diversity status and a centralized model help propel DIVERSANT forward

We feature DIVERSANT LLC, a privately-held IT professional services firm on Center Stage this month. The Red Bank, N.J-based firm’s clientele includes mid-market and Fortune 500 companies nationwide. The diversity staffing firm appeared on Staffing Industry Analysts’ list of fastest-growing staffing firms last year, posting revenue of $55 million in 2010. Last year, revenue was $80 million. The 80-employee company is now on track for 12 percent growth in 2012. Editorial Director Subadhra R. Sriram spoke with CEO Gene Waddy about the company’s growth and its future.

By Subadhra R. Sriram

Q: Describe your firm.

A: We are the largest African-American owned IT staffing company in the U.S. and provide contingent labor solutions as well as some perm staffing. We also offer functional and industry-specific solutions and diversity initiatives for the supply chain and workforce.

What are the reasons for your growth?

We focus very heavily on service delivery. In other words, our personnel are very heavily weighted toward recruiting. Most of our competitors have a ratio two to one — two recruiters to each sales person. At DIVERSANT, we have a five or six to one ratio. So, we’re very heavily focused and invested in service delivery.

I’ve been in IT staffing for more than 17 years, and what I’ve learned in those years is that he who has the best recruiting strategy wins at the end of the day. That’s what the clients are purchasing from us: our recruiting strategy. I would say another significant component is the fact that we leverage our diversity status. In other words, we can help our clients increase their diver- sity spend and reach their diversity engagement goals. Many of our clients are looking for our type of firm to round out their vendor list.

Let’s talk about your recruiting strategy.

Our recruiting strategy, our footprint, is domestic. We’ve decided to invest heavily in staff recruiters. We have an enterprise-leveraged delivery model. Our recruiters report to our national service delivery manager who helps to set priorities and direct the efforts of our delivery team as a whole.

We’re able to be more efficient in our efforts because we’re not dealing with locally managed branches. Instead, we set priorities at headquarters which allows the whole enterprise to be responsive, shifting easily to meet opportunities as they arise. This gives us focus; allows us to make sure that we put our best resources on our best requirements, further adding to our success.

In response, our clients say “hey, these guys are delivering so let’s give them more and more.” They become referenceable accounts which I can use to get into other accounts.

So that’s what you think sets you apart?

We have a different level of conversation with our clients — we begin our sales cycle at the top. We sell our services at the C-level. We go to the CEO, CIO and the chief diversity officer to discuss what we believe to be their business issues, or other relevant concerns. We do the research on that client to find out what’s going on, where their pain points might be from a business perspective. With the research we do, we put together an outline of possible services that would address the challenges they are facing. And our value propositions are designed to resonate with senior leadership. That’s how we do it; with diversity, delivery and a partnership approach. You can’t miss when you get those three in alignment.

So what’s in store for your future?

We are predicting another good year of growth. The last couple years, we’ve had high growth, 40 to 50 percent. This year we’re going to come in around 12 percent growth; partially due to significant investments in new staff hiring. We expect this to pay off and foresee stellar growth in 2013. We’re targeting more businesses that require a sales force to really build relationships with local companies to complement our investments in the Fortune 100 clients.

Subadhra R. Sriram is editorial director at Staffing Industry Analysts. She can be reached at ssriram@staffingindustry.com.

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